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Glastonbury Campsites: the break down

Choosing a campsite at Glastonbury can be daunting, as the site is so big, and if you’ve never been before it’s very difficult to plan ahead just using the map! Arriving can also be quite stressful, as you’re attempting to navigate whilst carrying a lot of gear. I’ve listed some of the main areas below, and given you the pros and cons of each, plus at the bottom of this post, there are some tips to make your arrival, hopefully, a little less chaotic!

>>> Firstly, here’s the link to the main map <<<

(new 2017 version)

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Aerial View of Glastonbury! image source: Buzzfeed

The main thing to discuss within your group is what is most important to you when choosing a camp spot. I’ll be marking each area out of 10 for each (where 10 is excellent and 1 is poor):

  • Distance from car parks (DISTANCE)
  • How it copes if it rains (RAIN)
  • How many toilets are nearby/quality of toilets (TOILETS)
  • How popular it is/how quickly it fills up (POPULARITY)
  • How quiet it is/how much sleep you’ll get (QUIET)

pennardPennard Hill Ground

  • DISTANCE: 2
  • RAIN: 4
  • TOILETS: 4
  • POPULARITY: 8
  • QUIET: 3

Towards the South East corner of the map is the infamous Pennard Hill. Popular with the young-ish crowd, it’s known as a party area, mainly because in previous years it was the quickest access to the Naughty Corner (Shangri-La, Block 9, The Common, UnFair Ground, Glasto Latino). In 2011 they brought in a one way system to that area, so it’s not as quick now, but its reputation remains. As the name suggests, the field is a hill, and I would definitely recommend camping at least halfway up, as the bottom was the worst point of the 2005 floods, which I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of. I camped here in 2011, and one thing I did note was that for the size of the field there aren’t too many toilets, although the compost ones at the bottom of the Stone Circle field were a godsend. This campsite is good for a party, a lively campsite but usually fills up by mid Wednesday. The easiest access is through Pedestrian Gate C (East carparks) however it is quite a walk so you’ll need to be dedicated!

oxylerOxylers

  • DISTANCE: 5
  • RAIN: 2
  • TOILETS: 7
  • POPULARITY: 6
  • QUIET: 2

Oxylers is possibly the most central-to-the-action camping ground of the whole site, and it’s very popular with those who love the Other Stage and the Park. It’s a fair distance to the car parks, and its easiest access would be through Pedestrian Gate D (west car parks) or Gate A (coach drop off). However, this is the most low lying and flat ground across the site, so if it looks like it’s going to be a wet year, beware as this will be the first place to get muddy/swampy. I camped here in 2010 when it was absolutely scorching hot, so for that year it was perfect! I would also bring earplugs for a good night’s sleep if you’re planning on camping here, as being between Silver Hayes (the Dance Village) and Arcadia means it can be quite loud and lively until the very early hours!

painesPaines Ground/South Parks

  • DISTANCE: 8
  • RAIN: 6
  • TOILETS: 6
  • POPULARITY: 4
  • QUIET: 8

Paines Ground is the largest campsite of Glastonbury and the outer parts towards and into the South Parks are some of the quietest areas. They’re nice and secluded and usually have space well into Thursday. Towards the bottom is more lively, and can be loud until 3am as it borders Arcadia’s field. It’s easy to access from Ped Gate D and is popular with fans of The Park area, however, it is a very long walk from the Pyramid stage and William’s Green.

parkhomePark Home Ground

  • DISTANCE: 5
  • RAIN: 3
  • TOILETS: 7
  • POPULARITY: 7
  • QUIET: 2

In 2014 Arcadia moved to this area which reduced the size of Park Home Ground by about a third. As Arcadia is a loud open air stage, noise here will continue til at least 3am, so it’s definitely not somewhere to camp if you want a quiet night! It’s also the main way to The Park so pathways will be busy most of the time. However, it does have some great amenities around it; lots of toilets and a medical centre, plus it borders the old railway track which gives easy access to the Other Stage and towards Croissant Nerf, The Avalon and West Holts. It has a gentle slope which will survive rainy years and is easy to navigate to from Ped Gate D.

bushyBushy Ground/Rivermead

  • DISTANCE: 8
  • RAIN: 3
  • TOILETS: 6
  • POPULARITY: 4
  • QUIET:7

Bushy Ground and Rivermead are two lovely lush green fields quite close to the Ped Gate A and only 5 minutes walk from Silver Hayes so it is a good choice if you love your dance/electronic music. There are good compost toilets here but the downside is, as the name suggests, a river runs between these two fields, so if it’s a wet year, the ground gets very soggy/muddy quickly. There will be space here usually well into Thursday, so a good choice for late arrivals, and will be quiet in the evenings.

pylonPylon Ground/Darble

  • DISTANCE: 9
  • RAIN: 7
  • TOILETS: 6
  • POPULARITY: 4
  • QUIET: 7

Mostly filled with those who arrived by coach, as they come through Ped Gate A and have to carry everything all in one go, they usually get through the gate and think “here will do!” to set up camp. A lovely big, green, quiet, flat field that rarely gets flooded, it has a lot going for it. However it’s not great for those wanting late nights of dancing and debauchery in Shangri-La as it’s about as far from the Naughty Corner as possible, meaning a long, long walk home after watching the sunrise at the Stone Circle.

hawkwellHawkwell/Michael’s Mead

  • DISTANCE: 4
  • RAIN: 7
  • TOILETS: 5
  • POPULARITY: 6
  • QUIET: 7

Both Hawkwell and Michael’s Mead offer spectacular views in the morning from your tent over the whole site, as both lie directly underneath Worthy Farm itself. The downside to this is the ground is quiet steep in parts, which means a not-so-great night’s sleep at a 30+ degree angle, and also a tough walk up to bed each night.  On the plus side it has great access to the Pyramid field, John Peel and Silver Hayes. Easiest access is through Ped Gates A or B.

biggroundBig Ground

  • DISTANCE: 8
  • RAIN: 7
  • TOILETS: 6
  • POPULARITY: 9
  • QUIET: 5

At the top of the Pyramid Field is Big Ground, which is one of the first camp sites to fill up, so if you plan to camp here, I would advise being in the queue at Ped Gate B well before gates open! I have camped here for the last 4 years, and I love it because of the view over the site in the morning, the gradient is gentle but means you’re safe in wet years, and it’s really easy access down Muddy Lane to West Holts and therefore the Naughty Corner, and along the top of the Pyramid Field towards John Peel and Silver Hayes. It’s not so great if you’re planning to spend a lot of time in The Park. Good amount of toilets, although less since they removed the porcelain flushing toilets at the top of the hill in 2015 (they are sorely missed!). One of my favourite food vendors “The Cheese Truck” has been at the top of Big Ground for the last 3 years which has kept my cheese toastie breakfast cravings satisfied! It’s a quiet enough area to sleep in as there are no late night venues close by, however due to it’s popularity/over crowding there are usually people staying up talking through the night.

kidneyKidney Mead

  • DISTANCE: 7
  • RAIN: 4
  • TOILETS: 6
  • POPULARITY: 7
  • QUIET: 4

Just underneath Big Ground is Kidney Mead. It has all the benefits of Big Ground; having good access to the main areas, however being lower down the hill means it is more prone to mud on a wet year, and the view isn’t quite so good as you can’t see the Pyramid from outside your tent. However, it is still a great option if you were hoping for Big Ground if it’s full when you arrive. Easiest access through Ped Gates B or C.

General Arrival Tips!

  1. If you are arriving by car and parking in the car parks, I would strongly advise only carrying your tent and maybe one other bag on your first entry into the festival. Do not try to carry too much on the first go. Queues can be very long and getting a wristband can be a slow process; carrying lots of gear for that long will be knackering. Much better to go lighter on the first run, find your camping spot, get the tent up and do a second trip to the car once you’re settled and have your space.

    glasto-2010-WAITING-FOR-GATES

    Image Source: eFestivals

  2. I get it, you’ve arrived at the greatest place on earth and you’re excited! Of course it seems like a great idea to crack a few tinnies of cider in the queue to celebrate, but heed my warning: once you’re queuing, toilets are few and far between, and therefore those you do come across will have long queues and no toilet roll. It’s so much more satisfying to save that moment until your tent is up and you can enjoy it sat outside it in the sunshine!

    IMG_5155

    Here’s me and Katey looking satisfied with our post-erection can in 2014 (ps the tent behind me is not my tent!)

  3. Always pitch your tent with the door facing down the slope if pitching on an incline. This stops water & mud entering the tent from above.
  4. Ideally you want to be close to both the path, and the toilets. But not too close! If you’re too close to the pathway you will constantly have people passing by and either pulling up your guy ropes or tripping over them and falling onto your tent. Pathways get very muddy too on wet years. As for the toilets, being too close obviously means smells but also the sound of the long drop doors banging well into the night will keep you awake.
  5. Finally, don’t leave too big a space in between your group of tents. It’s nice to have a little patch of ground to sit in, sure, but you may find someone later decides to put their tent right in the middle, which is not something to get mad about! There’s never enough space at Glasto and people are advised by the camp stewards to fill any space possible. So leave a little room but only enough for a few chairs. Also, don’t be that group that takes up space with a gazebo.
IMG_1871

The view from our tents in 2015 in Big Ground facing down to the Pyramid on Wednesday lunchtime (it filled up a lot more than this soon after!)

Where do you camp at Glastonbury? Which of these sounds appealing to you? Leave a comment and let me know!

XX

 

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6 thoughts on “Glastonbury Campsites: the break down

  1. squibbvicious says:

    Love this!
    I camped in Pylon Ground last year as we’re not ones for the late night naughties that go on and it was great. Meant it was nice and quiet too.
    Am I getting old?! haha 🙂

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